Its always been left up to women to be the ones responsible for taking birth control.
Whether it’s committing to take that little pill every day and stressing that you don’t forget it, or more extreme measures like Intrauterine Devices (IUD) where a less then comfortable insertion is made to input hormones into a woman’s uterus.
One could argue that this is quite a big responsibility and if not done properly the end result might be an unwanted pregnancy. Let’s take a look a just how the scales balance out on options for contraceptives for women v.s. men:
| Female Contraceptives||Male Contraceptives|
| Fertility awareness methods |
| Female Condom || Withdrawal |
| Spermicides |
| Diaphragm |
| Cervical Cap |
| Contraceptive Sponge |
| Birth Control Pills |
| Depo-Provera |
| Lunelle |
| NuvaRing/Vaginal Ring |
| Ortho Evra Patch/Birth Control Patch |
| Intrauterine Device (IUD) |
| Withdrawal |
|Sterilization with tubal ligation|
Seems a bit unfair right? Well all that could be changing with new advancements and a lot of attention in the medical field for development of male contraceptives.
Many men cringe at the thought of having a vasectomy preformed by urologists. As though some sort of unspoken pride is removed along with the inability to have children when a vasectomy is undergone. But currently it is the most effective form of male birth control out there.
Steve Owens, a Seattle man had volunteered to test new male contraceptive methods that lowered his sperm count. The logic is to lower the sperm count to levels so low, rendering the man in capable of producing a child or infertile. Shortly after stopping the methods his sperm count spiked and he became a father to a beautiful daughter.
But this experience hasn’t change his mind, “ I would definitely do some kind of long-term male contraceptive,” he told the NY Times.
Scientists have begun noticing the need for such birth control methods and believe there is a lot of promise for the development of safe, effective, and reversible male contraceptives.
“I think men actually do want this,” said Diana L. Blithe, program director for contraceptive development for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
With support building for development from organizations as well known as that of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, women’s organizations, and global health groups.
“Male contraception is a critical area,” stated Jenny Sorensen, a foundation spokeswoman. “It doesn’t make sense to not include everyone in the discussion.”
Now, scientific advances just might have found a few methods that will actually work as effectively as female contraceptives.
A few methods recently tested actually interrupt sperm productions, and maturation, and can effectively render the sperm immobile.
The United States has been testing hormones effects by the use of testosterone and progestin. These hormones are effective for sending signals to the brain to stop producing sperm. However, the effects have proven effective for some men, there are risks and side effects involved with this method.
Gamendazole, a potential male birth control pill, which comes from an anticancer drug, makes sperm nonfunctional. The drug is not yet approved by the FDA and is currently still in the testing stages on rats and monkeys.
A reproductive scientist at the University of Washington, Dr. John K. Amory, is in the process of developing a drug for worm infections but was later tried on men because it caused infertility.
Dr. Amory said he discovered the drug blocks production of retinoic acid in rabbits. Retinoic acid is important for sperm production. Unfortunately, the side of effect, this drug acts like one for curbing alcoholism. If you drink alcohol while taking it you become very ill.
“The joke,” Dr. Amory said, “is if it weren’t for alcohol, no one would need contraception.”
Dr. David Clapham, a neurobiologist at Harvard, discovered that sperm tails contain calcium ion channels, with electrically charged atoms “turbo-charging the sperm” to reach eggs, he said. He is developing a drug to disable the channel.
“You just turn off the motor, rather than alter the people in a car,” he explained.
Elaine Lissner, director of the Male Contraception Information Project, formed a foundation to develop other approaches. RISUG, “reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance,” involves injecting gel into the scrotum to inactivate sperm. Currently this injectable vasectomy is being done for men by infertility specialists in India.
There are also two drugs, anti ejaculation drugs called antihypertensive and an antipsychotic, each found to prevent men from ejaculating during orgasm. However these drugs need additional testing and modifications due to the side effects of mood changes and hypertension.
Seattle landscape designer, Michal Lehmann, 39, said he experienced minimal side effects with implants and gels, besides acne and, possibly, more frequent sexual thoughts.
He and his wife have since had two children, want no more and, since she stopped the pill, would like “a better option than just condoms,” he said, according to the New York Times.
Steve Owens, disliked the testosterone gels but liked the progestin implant. He said that it caused no side effects but made “him the talk of the party.” Hormone implants, visibly bulge from a man’s bicep. “Guys like it because they can show it off,” Dr. Amory said. “Proof that the male is contracepting.”
Men’s reactions, according to Mr. Owen’s, ranged from “ ‘I would do something like that’ to ‘Dude, you’re crazy. How do you know if your sperm count will return? Is there shrinkage in any area, or malfunctioning?’ ”
But “women were just totally excited,” he said. “If I were single, I probably would have been able to use that as a dating thing.”
Until all the methods are fully tested and approved for male contraception, it’s back to you ladies!
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.